Here's how our world has changed.
Then: Before 9/11
We could walk with our loved ones and friends to their gate and watch their planes depart.
We could show up minutes before a flight and run to make it.
We could walk freely into stadiums, courthouses and public arenas.
We could board planes without removing any clothing, shoes or belts.
Our bags were not searched with a fine-tooth comb by grumpy TSA agents.
We could carry normal bottles of shampoo instead of struggling to find a way to carry our favorite toiletries in quantities less than 3.4 ounces.
We could pull up to the curb and wait for passengers without being chased off by security.
We could show our children the cockpit of a big jet.
Few people had ever heard of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida.
It was easier to accept people regardless of their differences.
Now: After 9/11
We must plan to be at the airport at least an hour before a domestic flight, and two hours before an international flight.
The TSA was created with the mission to protect all passenger and freight transportation.
Solid bulletproof doors protect the cockpit of all commercial aircraft.
Only ticketed passengers may pass through security.
No liquids (with the exception of juices for children) are permitted through security.
Shoes must be taken off to be scanned at most airports worldwide.
The entire world has learned to beef up security, from phones to computers to buildings, to homes.
We can't afford to be innocent anymore.
Postal workers now always ask, "Does this parcel contain anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous?" (as if a terrorist will chime up, "Why, yes, ma'am, there's a bomb in there").
According to Psychology Today, fears and anxiety have risen with a feeling of loss of safety and security.
Politicians and political activists have found the new fears to be a solid platform for attempting to take away the rights of American citizens in the name of security.
I believe this is the worst trait: We can't help but look at everyone with a skeptical eye. Racial profiling has become commonplace, whether we want to admit it or not.